As you might imagine, the traffic to the open letter from the oracle.com domain has been spiking in the last few days. Two days ago, in fact, Christo received an email from Oracle putting into question the fact that AWR data collection could not be disabled without a license to the diagnostic pack, and promptly forwarded that note to me.
This email then referred to a MetaLink Doc Id explaining how to do it. And a genuine and polite request was made to please correct the open letter so that at least it was factually accurate in this regard. The thing is, my searches on MetaLink did not turn up any published notes with that Doc Id. Seeing as I’m reasonably well-connected in the Oracle world (ha!) I asked someone inside to take a look and got the gist of the proposed Doc and package, and understood that it’s status was as yet unpublished.
So as it turns out, Oracle has been working on a package to disable the AWR data collection without requiring a license for at least two months. But as of yesterday, it had not yet been published.
And so, yesterday evening, and let’s give Mark Brinsmead most of the credit for the timing of this, Oracle published a method for disabling AWR collection without requiring a license to the diagnostic pack. They nicely gave me the opportunity to announce its existence, and thus behold, note 436386.1, helpfully titled “Package for disabling AWR without a Diagnostic Pack license in Oracle”! (You will need Oracle MetaLink credentials to access that note.)
A couple points now are in order:
- Thank you very much, Oracle, for doing the right thing and making it so that your licensing term for this data is supported by the functionality of your database engine. A week ago, the fact that the restriction was not supported was a substantial stressor and risk from a licensing compliance point of view.
- I think I should highlight that clearly Oracle is reading and responding to our blogs, and this is the first step to integration into the Oracle blogosphere. Whether this is as a result of your efforts, Justin, or not, I think an “‘attaboy and good job” is order here too. Please keep it up, I am looking forward to the point where Oracle users and bloggers are as tightly integrated with Oracle employees and bloggers as they are for some Oracle competitors. (Colour me jealous green!)
- Speaking for myself, I still think Oracle is missing an opportunity by making this instrumentation available to the DBAs, at least at the data layer. There are very good arguments in support of this contention, made by Mark in his letter, and by several of the commentators to the letter. So I still feel this solution is a step backwards onto solid ground, instead of a step forwards onto solid ground.
- That being said, until the licensing terms change, my review of the licensing terms and of this note leads me to conclude that running this on every system where the diagnostic pack is unlicensed is a best practice. That means, if you’re running Oracle 10g and you do not have the diagnostic pack licensed, put this on your agenda. Note that Oracle disagrees with this assessment, in saying
Oracle, therefore, recommends that all customers, with or without Diagnostic Pack license, leave AWR enabled so that they can benefit from features that do not require pack license but implicitly use AWR.
… but, without meaning to pick a fight in any way, I in turn respectfully disagree with them. The risk, ramifications and costs of a post-hoc licensing liability finding are just too high in today’s Sarbanes-Oxley world.
Of course, the open letter will need a slight correction now. Mark and I will discuss how to handle that later on. In the meantime, if you think the instrumentation should be included in 11g, by all means sign the open letter!